Uphaar tragedy victims’ kin to start public safety campaign

January 16th, 2009 - 2:48 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 16 (IANS) With an aim to ensure proper and effective implementation of safety laws and regulations, the Association of Victims of the Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) will initiate a citizen’s campaign Saturday. Also, a demonstration will be held to seek justice for the victims of Uphaar tragedy. The fire in the south Delhi cinema hall on June 13, 1997 claimed 59 lives.

“We at AVUT strongly believe that the outcome of the recently delivered judgement in the Uphaar Fire Tragedy case will impact public safety. We hope that in future public spaces in the country will become safer,” president of AVUT Neelam Krishnamurthy said.

Owners of the cinema hall, brother Sushil and Gopal Ansal, were originally jailed for two years after being convicted of a negligence charge. Last month, the Delhi High Court reduced their jail term to one year.

Krishnamurthy said the association will join hands with other civic organisations and hold a demonstration to demand justice for the victims of the Uphaar tragedy.

“Also, a Citizens’ Campaign for Public Safety will be initiated,” added Krishnamurthy, who lost her two children in the Uphaar fire.

The initiative will aim to mobilise people to build pressure on the government to create an act on protection of life and safety in public places and a national public safety commission like those in countries like Canada, Britain, Japan and South Korea.

The demonstration and meeting will be held Saturday evening at Smriti Upavan, in front of the Uphaar Cinema, Green Park Extension here.

“It is with utmost pain that we have come to realise that for our policy makers and decision makers, human life is of little value. Someone accused of killing a Chinkara is sentence to five years in prison but those accused of having caused the death of 59 innocent people have got away with a mere one year in jail - a pitiful six days in jail for each of the lives lost,” Krishnamurthy said.

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